19 April 2012
At the conclusion of the International Softball Challenge against Japan in March, Softball Australia announced the 17 Aussie Spirit athletes who will represent Australia at the 2012 ISF XII Women’s World Championships in Canada. These athletes carry the hopes of Australian Softball to improve the team’s current world ranking of 6th place.
Head Coach, Kere Johanson talks to Softball Australia on the recent selection:
I believe we have selected a well-balanced, all round Australian Team to regain a podium position at this year’s World Championships. The current seven game Test series against Japan provided a great test for the team and it gave us the opportunity to assess where our strengths and weaknesses are today, three months before the World Championships.
From those assessments we identified the need to take five pitchers. At times through the series our pitching staff struggled to throw strikes allowing Japan to apply unforced pressure on the defence and offensive elements of our game. The strength identified was the fact that the team absorbed the unforced pressure and produced great fighting performances through their defence, offence and character.
With only six defensive errors and a team on base average of .382 over 7 games was very encouraging. Our sacrifice bunting was outstanding. Our ability to move runners over against Japan, who are known for their strong aggressive defense, is a credit to the Aussie Spirit athletes and reward for the hard work they have done with their short game. Clutch hitting was another area I believe we are growing as a team and again athletes took their opportunities. However, a combined ERA of 4.67, 32 Base on Balls & 5 Hit by Pitches posted by our Pitching staff over the seven games needs our immediate attention.
I am excited by the fact that this team is growing in unity and belief. The athletes are developing into more thinking type players compared to just playing the game. The athletes are developing their people skills which were demonstrated throughout the week. We had Andrew Kirkpatrick, Laing Harrow & Bob Harrow interacting with the team through the series bringing the men’s and women’s game closer together. The girls enjoyed this opportunity to listen and ask questions from such a successful Softball trio.
I am happy with the selections for this team. It offers strong offensive power and multiple short game skills, speed on the bases, good defence, strong bench at any time and I really do believe we have the pitching to do well by the time we get to Yukon in July. I believe the team and players are really finding themselves. They are developing their culture for now and the future. I like the mix of experience and youth that has been selected.
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